Australia bolsters bushfire defences as economic, environmental costs mount


"There is no room for complacency, especially as we have over 130 fires burning across (New South Wales) state still", Premier of New South Wales state Gladys Berejiklian said on Monday.

Authorities were also grappling with the health impacts of heavy smoke engulfing cities and towns in or near fire-hit regions, including the country's second-largest city Melbourne and the national capital Canberra.

A backbencher in PM Morrison's government was criticised for an appearance on the "Good Morning Britain" ITV program during which he said there was no link between climate change and the bushfire crisis.

The mega wildfires started in June 2019 and continued through 2020, affecting seven states and territories: NSW, Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Northern Territory, and Tasmania.

Contact the Australian Red Cross, GIVIT, Salvation Army Australia, St. Vincent de Paul Society, NSW Rural Fire Service, Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, RSPCA New South Wales, Australian Koala Foundation, and Koalas in Care Inc.

Police found the body on Monday between the property and a auto, both of which had been destroyed by fire.

In South Australia a total fire ban has been declared for Tuesday. "They are trying to secure fire lines where they can, to try and minimize where these fires will burn again when conditions do warm up".

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Almost 40 fires, over 923,000 hectares have been burned across Victoria and 110 homes have been confirmed lost, 220 outbuildings destroyed.

No loss of life has been reported from Western Australia where 30 bushfires are burning.

In Victoria, warnings on several fires were downgraded but there were still four emergency level warnings for fires and two evacuation warnings in place. The fires have not only sparked concern over human well-being, but have also created worries over the survival of endangered and vulnerable animals.

The University of Sydney estimated 480 million animals have perished in Australia's fires in New South Wales alone.

But the moves did little to tamp down the criticism that he had been slow to act, even as he has downplayed the need for his government to address climate change, which experts say helps supercharge the blazes.

The 36-year-old father was killed along with his colleague Geoffrey Keaton after a burnt tree fell in the path of their firetruck, causing it to roll.

Australian officials used a respite yesterday from fierce wildfires that have killed 25 people across the country's south-east to race to reopen blocked roads and evacuate people who have been trapped for days.